Principles and Practice

 

Our Principles – what we believe

  • We believe that CHANGE IS A PROCESS NOT AN EVENT. Individual attitudes and behaviors (based on those attitudes) change in an ongoing process.

  • We believe most people are good people of conscience who want to learn to hurt others less and affirm others more.

  • People are in differing developmental places with these concepts and beliefs.

  • Education is a powerful tool for change, but not the only tool necessary for social change to occur.

  • We understand that because all forms of oppression are interconnected, they have impact on us all, and that dismantling all oppressions will benefit us all.

  • About POWER. “There is difference and there is power; and who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference.”  (June Jordan)

  • We believe oppression will end only when significant numbers of the “privilege” group take the actions to end it, not because members of the “target” group demand it. (For example, racism won’t end because People of Color demand it. Racism will end when a significant number of White people of conscience, following the leadership of People of Color, take appropriate actions to end it.)

  • The “privilege group” and the “target group” have different experiences, perspectives, knowledge, responsibilities and work in the partnership to dismantle oppression. People with privilege must learn the reality of their privilege and how to spend that privilege with integrity. People of the target group must learn the reality of their internalized oppression and work to empower themselves and other members of their target group. Based on this belief, many workshops will devote time to separate “caucuses.”

 

Our Practice –how we approach our work

  • We acknowledge the experience, skills, expertise and wisdom of every participant.

  • In accord with adult learning principles, we attempt to make all information and workshop experiences relevant and practical to participants’ lives.

  • In keeping with our core feminist values and worldview, we seek non-dualistic approaches, non-exploitative activities, using accessible and empowering language and experiences.

  • We encourage open and honest conversation, challenge and learning about oppression and justice.

  • We attempt to make our passion and values clear. While we remain open to and appreciate challenge of our perspectives and values, we intend to never compromise them simply to avoid conflict.

  • We feel humor (non-exploitative, non-oppressive humor) has an important role in community building and the work for justice.

  • Analysis is crucial to understanding oppression, but ultimately, to dismantle oppression, theory must be put into practice.

  • We respect the right and need for target group members to self identify, name themselves, their experiences and realities, and to make decisions for themselves.

  • Every cultural bridges to justice program (when the length makes this feasible) will contain practical, relevant, accessible, replicable tools, skills and actions.

  • Our focus is on educating and providing tools for change, while inspiring and supporting people of conscious to become confident and competent activists for justice.

  • Our programs are NOT about “tolerating,” “managing” or “celebrating” diversity, or devoted to personal prejudice reduction. They ARE about actively challenging oppression and building just communities.

  • The ultimate goal of all cultural bridges to justice work is the end of oppression in all forms (racism, sexism, classism, adultism, ageism, heterosexism, ableism, look/sizism, oppression based on spiritual belief or practice, et al) - NOT to create the need for another workshop.